On 23 November 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at a gathering of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. In her speech the German Chancellor sought to warn the world of the dangers of nationalism. A strong supporter of the European Union [EU], Chancellor Merkel was reacting to Great Britain’s intentions to withdraw from the EU, colloquially known as “Brexit.” In her speech Merkel stated the following:
In this day nation states must today—should today, I say—be ready to give up sovereignty. But of course, in an orderly procedure . . . Either you are one of those who believe they can solve everything on their own and only have to think about themselves [sic]. That is nationalism in its purest form. This is not patriotism.
What is remarkable about this statement is the irony of a German Chancellor warning of the dangers of nationalism. It is certainly natural that a German, remembering the murderous actions of the National Socialists (AKA, the Nazis/Fascists) might be concerned about a rise in nationalistic tendencies. However, Merkel’s solution to the problem—nations giving up their national sovereignty—is not the solution to the problem but the problem itself, as this article will demonstrate.
“Nationalism” was also a topic surrounding recent statements made by President Donald Trump in which Trump said that, at heart, he is a nationalist. Progressives and globalists shouted cries of warning over the President’s comments, some even drawing thinly veiled comparisons to the rhetoric of American Fascists of the 1930s. Even French President Emanuel Macron weighed-in on the controversy, stating that nationalism is the opposite of patriotism. However, as we will soon see, it is Chancellor Merkel’s vision of a world without national boundaries and without national sovereignty that is the true offspring of the Nazi regime.
Let us consider the goals of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists. Adolph Hitler sought, through military conquest and the murder of countless millions, to make all of Europe Germany. Germany invaded her neighbors and subjugated countless millions. Through military conquest of Germany’s neighbors, Hitler sought to obliterate national boundaries and national sovereignty.
Angela Merkel has a similar vision of one Europe without national boundaries or national sovereignty. However, unlike Hitler, Angela Merkel seeks a political conquest rather than a military conquest of her neighbors. Angela Merkel seeks to impose her (German) ideals for Europe on Germany’s neighbors. When they resist, the German Chancellor will attack them, not militarily (at least not at this point), but politically, as evidenced by the very speech that introduced this article. In the end, German Chancellor Merkel’s vision for Europe is the same as German Chancellor Hitler’s vision—a Europe without borders in which the dictates of Germany reign supreme across the land.
In comparison with Chancellor Merkel’s vision for Europe, to say that Donald Trump’s version of “nationalism” is dangerous is to overlook decades of history and experience. Adolph Hitler, in his thirst for power, sought to destroy national boundaries while Donald Trump only seeks to defend national boundaries. Hitler disregarded national sovereignty as he invaded his neighbors. Trump only seeks the right to defend the sovereignty of his own nation and to defend the rights of other nations to do the same.
Furthermore, to deny the rights of nations to defend their own sovereignty and their own borders is to deny the clear teaching of Scripture. Scripture teaches that God Himself has established the boundaries of nations (Acts 17:26). Scripture also sanctions the need for national boundaries and the right to defend those boundaries (Neh. 2:1–3). Therefore, it is to go against Scripture to say that “nationalism” is evil, when that term is used only to recognize the sovereignty of individual nations and their rights to defend their own borders and their own sovereignty.
It is certainly the case that President Trump’s “nationalism” remarks were interpreted through the lens of the mainstream media who have almost universally tried to paint Trump as a racist. In fact, the media have tried to use his calls for border security as evidence for his racism. Perhaps this is the root of French President Emanuel Macron’s comment that nationalism is the opposite of patriotism. Such a charge is patently false if one is speaking of the correct notion of nationalism.
If one loves one’s nation and seeks the best for her, as seems to be Trump’s position, then this form of nationalism is indeed patriotic. If, however, one identifies one’s nation with a particular race, and one seeks the furtherance of that race at the expense of other races, then that sort of “nationalism” is indeed evil. Scripture clearly teaches that there is one human race and that Eve is the “mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). Therefore, any political system or system of government based on racism is contrary to the clear teachings of scripture.
There is no evidence that racism is motivating President Trump’s calls for border security. His motivations seem to be strictly based on the rule of law and the rights of nations to defend their own sovereignty. If the only evidence that the media has to support their charge of “racism” is President Trump’s calls for border security, then their argument is not only circular but it is viciously circular.
Granted, there are forms of nationalism that are dangerous. However, it is leaders like Chancellor Merkel who are the real danger when they deny the sovereignty of nations. It is people like Chancellor Merkel whom we should fear, who, like Hitler, would do away with all national boundaries and national sovereignty. Whether it is through military conquest or political conquest that nations lose their sovereignty, all persons who value liberty should resist all such threats to freedom and the rights of nations to assert and maintain their own sovereignty.